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CMU supports use of geospatial technology to protect marine environment

Published:Tuesday | November 6, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Dr Stephen Rhoden, associate vice president of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Technology at the Caribbean Maritime University

The Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) is in support of protecting the marine environment through the use of geospatial technology.

Associate vice-president of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Technology at the CMU, Dr Stephen Rhoden, said that the use of technology in undersea exploration can preserve and save marine life.

"Most people don't really think about what's happening below the [sea's] surface, and awareness in that sector is very important. About 90 per cent of our coral reefs are gone in Jamaica, so we are really thinking of how we can use technology, not just in the green economy, but also in the blue economy," he said.

Dr Rhoden recently announced that the CMU would partner with the National Spatial Data Management Division to mark Geography Awareness Week, from November 6 to 16.

While much of the waterbody surrounding Jamaica has remained untouched, the CMU intends to use technology resources to explore the area for the benefit of Jamaica.

"What we are looking at are some technologies to clean up the (Kingston) Harbour, for example. By 2025, plastics in the sea are going to outnumber fish in the sea. So, we are building drones and unmanned vehicles to go below the sea, observe our water quality at different points around the island and observe the wildlife and the health of our corals," Dr Rhoden said.

The CMU has already developed a virtual reality software using geospatial technology that gives an immersive virtual experience of New Kingston. It allows the user to walk through the streets of New Kingston without having to leave his or her location.

Dr Rhoden believes this technology could be applied to water. "This is something that we could do for the seabed, as well, and give [non-swimmers] the experience of swimming and diving," he said.